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Bolland helps Blackhawks finish off Game 1

by Corey Masisak /

CHICAGO -- Dave Bolland laid a big hit on Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards near the end of Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, then drew a penalty at the other end that effectively sealed a victory for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards carried the puck behind the Chicago net with his team down a goal, then tried to stop and come back toward the goal line to the left of goalie Corey Crawford. Instead, Bolland connected with a big hit that Richards was slow to get up from.

"It's a quick game, it's a hard-hitting game," Bolland said. "It's just the way it is. It's the way the game goes. You get hit. It happens. It's happened to me.

"I hit him with my back, my shoulder, I had my elbow down, who knows, right? It's hockey. It's a game where you hit. There's contact. I don't know what else to say."

A couple of Kings players said they did not see the hit. Richards argued with the nearest official as he skated slowly back to the bench.

"Clearly behind the net, behind the goalie," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Guys changing. Really couldn't see it."

Asked If Richards was OK, Sutter said, "I [saw] him arguing with the ref."

Richards declined interview requests in the Kings dressing room after the game.

The Blackhawks went the other way with the puck, and eventually Bolland ended up with it. Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter tripped Bolland with 1:41 left in regulation, and Chicago was able to play keep-away for most of the final 101 seconds to run the clock out for a 2-1 victory.

Los Angeles' goal came on a bad break for Bolland. He tried to clear the puck out of danger in front Crawford in the first period but Kings forward Justin Williams put his stick in the puck's path and deflected it into the Chicago net.

"[Bolland] is fine," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're on there for the one goal. One of those plays where you talk about everything going your way, then all of a sudden it's in our net. I think [Bolland] is progressing in the playoffs. Looks like he's finding a little bit more each way. We're going to need him."

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